The Painted Desert stretches itself across Arizona from the Grand Canyon to the Petrified Forest, and runs along and to the north of the Little Colorado and the Puerco Rivers. Although the Navajo and the Hopi people have lived in this area for one thousand years at least, the name 'Painted Desert' was given by the Spaniards because of its beautifully colored strata.
The colors of the desert are layers upon layers of strata comprised of minerals and organic decaying material, both plants and animals. These hardened dunes, mesas, and buttes can be found through out the badlands, and are distinct because of their bold bands of red, orange, yellow, and grey. Even more dramatic, sunrise and sunrise paint the desert even bolder with glowing reds and oranges, and twilight seizes the strata with its deep blues.
The Painted Desert, outside of its strata, carries ancient stories still. Millions of years old, the Petrified Forest dates its coniferous trees back to the Triassic Era. An assortment of prehistoric plants and animals have been discovered, including dinosaur tracks and evidence of early human inhabitation.
A majority of the region is only accessible by foot or by unpaved roads, although highways do cut through portions of the park. The desert continues to add to its colors with its blowing red dust and being well kept under national park protection.
Grand Canyon National Park, a World Heritage Site, encompasses 1,218,375 acres and lies on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. The land is semi-arid and consists of raised plateaus and structural basins typical of the southwestern United States. Drainage systems have cut deeply through the rock, forming numerous steep-walled canyons. Forests are found at higher elevations while the lower elevations are comprised of a series of desert basins.
Create a palette to share with us the colors of wonderful places where you live, or simply give suggestions of places you'd like to see us cover in a future landmark colors post.